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Ken Borland

Richards discovers control, looking for strong limited-overs showings 0

Posted on November 22, 2016 by Ken


Left-arm paceman Rowan Richards discovered the control he was missing in the second half of last season, leading to a strong showing in the Sunfoil Series which he now plans to take into the limited-overs arena for the Titans.

Richards was the leading wicket-taker for the Titans in four-day cricket with 36, but he only played half of the games in their triumphant Momentum One-Day Cup campaign, taking six wickets and conceding a shade over a run-a-ball. His one appearance in the RamSlam T20 was a disaster, conceding 55 runs in his four overs, against the Cape Cobras during the triple-header at the Wanderers that began the competition.

“At the beginning of the season, it was a struggle, but it clicked heading into the four-day games. It was just a matter of improving my action with Mandla Mashimbyi and Rob Walter [Titans coaches], to get more consistency and be able to control the swing. My goal for next season is to carry that through to the limited-overs formats,” Richards told The Citizen.

Four-day cricket certainly tests a person’s patience and range of skills and the 30-year-old showed that he is one of those bowlers who can plug away while nothing much is happening, but will suddenly get on to a streak and be unplayable.

“l enjoyed the four-day campaign. You get slow periods, it’s just dead, but you have to believe something is going to happen, even when you’re not getting wickets. If I get one, then I believe I can get three or four and that then gives you a sniff.

“Last season I was swinging the ball both ways and I was dangerous with both the new and old ball, getting a bit of reverse. Anyone can go up to a higher level, I just need to focus on my processes, build on what I do well and be consistent,” Richards said.

Those who witnessed his hat-trick on the final afternoon to beat the Warriors in Benoni or his five for 38 against the Knights in Bloemfontein will know that Richards is a left-armer the national selectors should certainly be keeping their eyes on.


Fanie pulling the strings for Hardus Viljoen to leave SA 0

Posted on April 16, 2015 by Ken

Former South African paceman Fanie de Villiers is playing an instrumental role in one of the country’s brightest fast bowling talents trying to leave the country and play for New Zealand.

Hardus Viljoen has just come off another outstanding season for the Highveld Lions, playing a key role in their Sunfoil Series title with 39 wickets at an average of 20.43, but De Villiers told The Citizen on Wednesday that the 26-year-old would be travelling to New Zealand next week for talks with one of their franchises.

Although Viljoen has not yet played for the national side, he is definitely in the selectors’ thoughts, having played nine games, in both four-day and 50-over cricket, for representative A teams. The strong fast bowler has taken 103 wickets, more than any other bowler, in the last three Sunfoil Series seasons at a superb average of 23.95.

“Patriotism is out the door,” De Villiers, who described himself as “a close family friend who has advised Hardus since he was in Standard 8,” said. “He’s been the leading wicket-taker over the last few seasons but he hasn’t played for South Africa because of the dynamics of the team. Hardus is a very strong and very good fast bowler who can bowl at 150 km/h and he will be sought after in New Zealand and Australia.

“So on April 22 we are meeting one of the New Zealand franchises to see what they offer, which is why Hardus is the only player not to have signed his new Lions contract yet,” De Villiers said.

De Villiers added that the move was not to do with quotas but was rather designed to ensure Viljoen was remunerated properly for his ability, with English County Cricket a key target.

“Because of the new quotas, a lot of players will look elsewhere, but Hardus is already in the system and could play for any franchise. But he’s playing in the shadow of others and should have played for South Africa already. There are two fantastic fast bowlers at the top in the Proteas, but there’s no way some of the others who have played are better than Hardus.

“He can’t qualify to play County Cricket, where you get your revenue from, unless he has played for South Africa, and Kyle Abbott, Marchant de Lange and Chris Morris are all ahead of him in line, I know how the selectors operate. So we have an appointment in New Zealand, where he can get serious opportunity with the new ball and qualify for them in four years’ time,  when he is 30, and then play County Cricket and earn a million rand a year,” De Villiers said.

While Viljoen’s benefactor stressed that the fast bowler could not afford to wait an iota longer for selection to the Proteas, De Villiers’ own bitterness towards the South African cricket system could now negatively affect a tremendous talent who has just really begun to blossom within the brilliant Lions bowling attack.




19-year-old rookie Moore leads Titans comeback 0

Posted on February 24, 2014 by Ken


Vincent Moore, the 19-year-old paceman playing just his second Sunfoil Series match, was the leader of the Titans yesterday as he bowled them back into the game against the Highveld Lions at the Wanderers.

Moore, a left-armer, claimed three for 21 in eight overs to reduce the Lions to 109 for four at stumps, in reply to the inadequate Titans first innings of 147 all out.

The Titans had won the toss and elected to bat first and it looked an apt decision in the first 40 minutes as openers Heino Kuhn and Francois le Clus added 33.

But the admirable Lions attack then found the right lengths on a pitch that provided consistent movement but not such consistent bounce, medium-pacer Brett Pelser having by far his most successful day in franchise cricket with the ball as he claimed four for 28 in 15 overs.

The lively pitch ensured the Lions’ reply would be anything but dull and their batsmen also found it tough to stay in for a long time. Dominic Hendricks (21), Temba Bavuma (25) and Devon Conway (27) all played some sparkling strokes before being dismissed.

By stumps the decision to bat first was once again looking a reasonable one, with the uneven bounce suggesting batting last will be a tough task.

Qaasim Adams, the Titans’ import from the Western Cape, showed the stoutest resistance of all the batsmen, occupying the crease for two-and-a-half hours and only playing at what he had to on his way to 59, his first half-century for his new franchise.

Lions captain Stephen Cook was caught behind off CJ de Villiers for a duck, sparring outside off stump, before Moore entered the fray with an impressive opening spell of two for 20 in six overs.

Keeping the ball in the channel around off stump, he bowled at a lively pace and removed Bavuma, who had looked comfortable until then, in his second over.

Moore jagged a delivery back into the little right-hander, cutting him in two and getting the inside edge for Mangaliso Mosehle to claim his second catch.

Hendricks is lethal when given any width, so Moore kept a tight line to him and the talented left-hander eventually shouldered arms to a straight one and was bowled.

Moore then returned for a couple of overs just before stumps and removed Conway, edging a loose slash just outside off stump.

Neil McKenzie is obviously a key man for the Lions now, having batted in typically unflustered fashion to reach 30 not out.

Thami Tsolekile, released from the national squad, is with him on one not out.

Moore has given the Titans a window of opportunity to escape from the poor position their incompetent batting had seemingly condemned them to being imprisoned in for the rest of this match.


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